This website uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue we assume that you consent to receive all cookies on all websites.
For further information, please click here >>.

PhD student (f/m): Spectroscopic coherent diffraction imaging (CEA-UGA-ESRF)

Context & Job description

The characterization of structural properties such as displacement fields, composition, and defects in nanostructures is a major challenge in materials science, particularly in catalysis. Copper (Cu) is gaining attention as a viable alternative to precious transition metals like platinum (Pt), palladium (Pd), and rhodium (Rh) for catalytic applications due to its abundance and high activity in various industrially relevant reactions. However, the active phase of Cu in different reactions remains a subject of debate, primarily because Cu can exist in multiple oxidation states. This underscores the need for high-resolution chemical and spatial analysis of catalysts during catalytic reactions.

Coherent X-ray diffractive imaging in the Bragg geometry (BCDI) emerges as a powerful non-destructive technique for probing the three-dimensional structure of nanomaterials. BCDI offers a spatial resolution typically below 5 nm and a sub-angstrom resolution of internal crystalline lattice displacements. Despite its potential, the spectro-BCDI technique has not yet been implemented experimentally. Building on our successful application of in situ and operando BCDI during (electro-)chemical reactions, we are now poised to extend this technique to include spectroscopic capabilities. This advancement will provide unprecedented insights into the chemical states and spatial distributions of catalysts, particularly Cu, under reaction conditions.

The aim of this PhD is to develop and apply the nano-focused 3D spectroscopic coherent imaging technique at the nanoprobe ID01-EBS beamline of The European synchrotron (ESRF). The development of a robust algorithm for 3D spectroscopic Bragg imaging will allow imaging in 3D complex crystalline materials at the nanoscale, one of today’s major challenges of nanoscience. This technique will be used to reveal both chemical (oxidation states and bond structure) and structural (lattice strain, defect(s), morphology, composition) information of alloyed Cu catalysts under gas conditions to extract mechanistic understanding for designing both effective and selective CO2 reduction catalysts. By applying 3D spectroscopic BCDI, we aim to uncover critical information about the dynamic behaviour of catalysts under working conditions.

The PhD student candidate will work with researchers from the CEA Grenoble (IRIG), ESRF’s Algorithms and scientific Data Analysis (ADA) group, and the ID01-ESRF beamline. More information about the position can be obtained by contacting, and

Expected profile

  • The applicant should hold a degree allowing enrollment for a PhD (such as MSc, Master 2 de Recherche, engineering degree, Laurea, or equivalent) in chemistry, physics, materials science, or a closely related field
  • Programming skills (python) and either experience or interest in developing data analysis software are required
  • Interest in material science and catalysis are important.
  • A strong interest in challenging experimental work is desired.
  • Good interpersonal, communication, organisational and presentational skills
  • Proficiency in English (working language at the ESRF)

Working conditions

The salary will be calculated on the basis of relevant qualifications and professional experience.

Do you recognize yourself in this description? Apply now for your next professional adventure!

What we offer:

  1. Join an innovative international research institute, with a workforce from 38 different countries
  2. Collaborate with global experts to advance science and address societal challenges
  3. Come and live in a vibrant city, in the heart of the Alps, and Europe's Green Capital 2022
  4. Enjoy a workplace designed to support your quality of life
  5. Benefit from our competitive compensation and allowances package, including financial support for your relocation to Grenoble

For further information on employment terms and conditions, please refer to

The ESRF is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from disabled persons.

Company description

The European Synchrotron, the ESRF, is an international research centre based in Grenoble, France.

Through its innovative engineering, pioneering scientific vision and a strong commitment from its 700 staff members, the ESRF is recognised as one of the top research facilities worldwide. Its particle accelerator produces intense X-ray beams that are used by thousands of scientists each year for experiments in diverse fields such as biology, medicine, environmental sciences, cultural heritage, materials science, and physics.

Supported by 21 countries, the ESRF is an equal opportunity employer and encourages diversity.

This website uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue we assume that you consent to receive all cookies on all websites.
For further information, please click here >>.